tv [untitled] April 6, 2012 7:00pm-7:30pm EDT
is it true you go to school alone and you return by yourself? i was angry in the first place. i thought maybe they were making fun of me, but later i discussed that with my father. and my father asked me a different question. did you notice any school all the way coming from pakistan to afghanistan? any hospital? any clinic? any store? anything? and my answer was no. so basically for me, it was all these questions that really shaped my mission. and it is easy to criticize things as i did in my childhood. it's easy to be angry at things, but it's equally important to reflect back and see that, oeng, we could be critical, but then i think it's important to answer one question. what can i do to make a change? and i think that that was the beautiful gift that my father
ever gave us was to take us back to our home where we initially came from and see that i was way privileged compared to my own cousins when they were living. so i think for me, that was the beautiful gift that my father had given to us to take us out of afghanistan and provide us the education. all of that was poor, but it helped me to reflect back and really get things that i could not have received if i was living back home. and then after the fall of the taliban, they established the first class with 36 girls. later on i received proposals from other communities to establish further classes and schools. and here my life -- that is pretty much my vision.
to bring education to girls and women in the most remote areas where they will not have access to education. [ applause ] >> usher, anybody that gets that kind of reception and has made the kind of money you have and have the kind of profile you have would have to set up some sort of charitable operation. but you know as well as i do that a lot of people in your position have done that and just checked the box. and i know you haven't just checked the box. you thought about what you wanted to do. you thought about why you wanted to do it. and once you did it, you went
all in. i have seen some of your kids. and i must say i didn't know until we did our deal and kicked it off that you were perhaps the discoverer of justin bieber, which will get you more points with these people. i want you to tell these young people why you decided to do exactly what you're doing? and how you stay involved in it now to make sure it achieves the objectives you want. >> absolutely. you would assume to whom much is given, much is required. or there should be a consideration. well, i kind of flipped that. because i was given a lot at a very young age by simply someone
believing me. someone encouraging me to move in a positive direction, which a lot of me my age at the time coming from at-risk environments, underserved communities didn't really have a lot to believe in. but it was simply someone, a few people actually, who really made that difference and molded me. you know, they say it's not how you start, it's how you end. but for me, i flipped that too. ultimately my entire perspective was a new look in life. it is how you start. it is the seeds that are planted at those very key moments in our lives that truly do make a difference in terms of the outcome. then the next step was the evidence. my mother, who at the time served as my manager, we had conversations about the youth in
atlanta. and she sat in the courthouse in atlanta, georgia, and observed court cases where children were coming from foster homes and just really were devastated. no track for success. no one to be there for them. nothing. and it really pained me that there's someone out there who could actually make a difference in our world and there's no motivation for them. so i began to speak on panels. i began to go to high schools, schools, anybody that would accept me and just talk about the evidence and the reality of, you know, having an education, finding a career, recognizing my talent. and now being able to use it as a tool to offer service and at least the hope, the optimistic hope that you could make a difference with your life as well. after that, i decided that i
would start an organization and i would focus specifically on youth. you know, there's many things that we can do. you travel all around the world. you're successful. you go on stages. but i wanted to be remembered for something else other than just screaming fans. you know, i really wanted to make a difference. i really wanted to do something significant with my talent. so i figured i'd be that motivator that motivated me. i'd be the mentor that was able to look out and recognize talent or either encourage those who had yet to acknowledge the talent that they had and in turn it has definitely been beneficial to me. justin bieber is one of the kids that i encouraged to move forward. but as a philanthropist, there was the idea that education is
so important, so key. having a talent obviously recognizing it as a career and in turn offering service as a result of you finding these things. and that is what the new look foundation ultimately became. since then, the reality, the evidence that that seed that could be planted has harvested. you've actually participated in it. as a matter of fact in 2006, we had a conversation. it was pretty motivating. here i had been doing a lot of work internally. i felt like okay, i got my chops up, he's going to know what i was doing, you didn't know who i was as a philanthropist at all. but i thought that was great because that meant it wasn't fluff. the hard work that i had put into what i had had done had touched the surface and the seed had been planted, but the harvest hadn't fully come. and that opportunity to have
been there with you gave me the opportunity to expand much further than i had even imagined with the clinton global initiative and we created power by service. power by service led to many different campaigns of disaster relief. those individuals who came from underserved communities who were struck and truly affected by katrina as well as rita and then on to haiti as well. after that, of course, we made a connection in africa. at your event. and i was able to establish another campaign through nothing but nets. and then on to the world leadership conference in atlanta, georgia, which you were there. he's obviously a very supportive man of me, right? [ applause ]
but little did he know he's been a mentor and motivator from the beginning and all along you have planted a seed at a very young age where i felt like i could make a difference in my community. maybe it was through my mother, but through that indication that the youth could make a difference, i felt like i could make a difference. and the new look foundation became what it is today. successfully leading the charge and being a youth voice. and also preparing future leaders with a service mind, of course, because the only thing that i ask is that they be as influential to each other as one was to me at some point. and since then, i hoped to be successful other than just music and it happened. and i'm able to sit here on this panel. we just had a celebration not
too long ago for his birthday. but we were backstage joking. there's this one little thing that i really hated that i actually performed in front of the president. my pants split actually on stage. not many people can say that they did that, but we've been able to share -- >> it was not an x rated split. and he never missed a beat. he did the whole thing all the way through. >> happy that we have been able to share those experiences and that you've been able to be that motivator to me. thank you very much. >> thank you.
there's a specific reason i wanted you all to hear his story because this is something you can all do where you go to school. when i was a governor, more than 20 years ago, and my primary responsibilities were public education, colleges, helping people go to college. and generating economic opportunity. i read a study the name of which i have long forgotten, but this sociologist followed for a period of 20 years these kids who grew up in absolutely horrible circumstances. they weren't all poor. a couple were middle class and their americans were drug addicts. one of them were wealthy. their parent did some horrible crime. and most of their brothers and sisters got in trouble, but these kids had all done great.
and so he studied them over 20 years. he tried to figure out how the young people that turn out okay among adversity. every single one was made to feel that they were the most important person in the world by a caring adult. that they could do something and could be something and could amount to something. the one i'll never forget. there was one young man who was part of four brothers. and they were abandoned by their parents who had terrible drug addiction. their grandmother tried to raise them all in a little apartment in new york city. they spent after half the night sleeping outside. three of these guys twoept jail. one of them became a doctor. every day when he went to school, he passed one of the kiosks in the street in new york where you sell newspapers.
the guy took an interest in him. he told him when he went to school he could learn something and he should and when he stopped and came home and said show me your homework. and then when the kid went to school the next day, he showed the man that he had done his homework. it sounds simple, but what you're doing can change the lives of thousands and thousands and thousands of people. and you too. so i thank you. i'll let you wrap up and then we'll take questions. we have more than 20 minutes for questions so i hope we have them coming in. tell me exactly what you do to promote student service at gw and how you came to believe it was so important. tell them.
>> i have to say that it's rather humbling for an english professor to find himself on a panel with the people who have these kinds of stories. it's these kinds of stories that can inspire all of us to take an interest in service. i'll give you an example of what good goth me thinking about this. within weeks of arriving at gw, i was talking to a student who was an undergraduate. had gone to uganda and noticed there were young women who had been subject to sexual abuse at the hands of a militia during a time of conflict. so she founded on her own a soccer team called "girls kick it." they never had experience in athletics and all of a sudden they were joyfully involved in athletic activity in a way that
formed comradery among teammates. so she made that basically her life's work to continue that kind of effort. as i listen to these stories, i do think that there are a number of things that come together here. we talked about disparities that exist across the world. we happen to be in the capitol city of our great nation that has some of the most striking disparities of income, education levels, problems. so one of the things we do here at george washington university is find ways of engaging our students who live in one part of the town that has high education rates. fairly low unemployment. we make sure they go across all eight wards in their service projects and we formalize that in a number of ways. one is commemorating every september 11th not only with a vigil to remember the terrible losses that occurred on that day
in 2001, kbu to have a service where we fan out across the entire city and paint schools so that children when they come back after a weekend find their schools have been cleaned and painted. they had no idea students were going to be doing that for them over the weekend. we have engaged our veterans. we have had a strong outreach to veterans. we have over 700 of those. we find that they are tremendous leaders. they have the experience, the dedication, the skills that they have brought back with them that enable them to be leaders within our student bodies. one thing i'm impressed by is how veterans have stepped up to educate lesser students in the value of service and the discipline of service and the creativity of applying their skills in exactly the way we have been hearing about. at the same time, we're developing initiatives that are more formal than that. one is a center for civic engagement in public service. we brought in a person to lead that effort to have more of a
formal and continuous focus on service throughout the year. we're also launching some activities. i'll mention one that i think is germane to some of the things we have been hearing about this evening. it's our new institute for global women's issues. we're doing that with the understanding that you're looking for one lever to pull anywhere in the world that would simultaneously improve public health, promote economic development, and reduce violence. it's the education and empowerment of women. so when i hear you talk about that, i think that's really critical. it's a range of things. what really impress ed me about this generation of students, i think this is what you picked up on, is we have students that don't just go into activities. they create opportunities for activities. they are entrepreneurial as well as dedicated in their service. and that's a hallmark of this generation that was not true of
mi mine. we did tutoring. we were involved in political activism. a lot of that was going on in my generation. . no doubt also in your generation. but we didn't see this extraordinary inventiveness and creativity that goes into the projects that have been chosen and are represented here. students come to my office hours and they will come up with an idea and i'll say that's great. have you talked to anyone about that? the student will say here's my list of endorsements from the city council, here's my business plan, you know, here's the capital funds i have started collecting for this. that's a hallmark of this generation. it's reflected here. that's why i congratulate these students because they are doing something that my generation couldn't even imagine possible. >> we're going to go to questions now. but the reason i saved tim for last is to make that point. when i was at georgetown in the
'60s, i participated in a program for a semester at night. i went into poor neighborhoods and went into peoples' homes that invited me. we tutored the kids and talked to the parents about their problems. that's fine. but i didn't do it a second semester. i didn't recruit ten other people to do it. it wasn't institutionalized. what i have been trying to do with this and the initiative at large and with the one we have for the american economy is to convince people that in this century, the definition of citizenship has to include this. it's not just working and being a good parent and paying your taxes and voting in election time. it's doing this kind of work and helping people like her to do it. okay. question number one comes from james lee. students who love dreaming big and discussing ways to change
the world, how can we become more action based? >> i love that question. thanks, james. there's a mentor of mine who is a writer and he wrote this book called "gates of fire." >> great book. great book. >> great book. he was coach iing me a little b when i was working on a book. and i was hitting this road block because i was confronting my own fears of how do you get words down on a page. and he wrote a short little manifesto called do the work. and in this manifesto, it's about the creative process. whether you're starting a business, a social enterprise, writing a book, writing a song, we were all speaking about usher's creative process before backstage. that's a pretty cool moment in my life. but whatever you're doing, he said start before you're ready.
start before you're ready. confront your fears and put yourself out there. there's no shortage of things to care about. so choose one that connects with your own life narrative and start before you're ready. >> thank you. this question is for secretary albright. what's the role that the private sector of creating opportunities for public service? especially through cross sector partnerships? >> well, i think there are so many opportunities because the private sector really has the desire and the need to create jobs. there's no question. in order to make it work, it has to create jobs. so the private sector working abroad particularly, which is what i've been involved in, wants to be a part of the societies in which they are operating. so what they do is provide opportunities for young people
to earn a living and to be able to get an education and to get trained. one of the most interesting things recently about the private sector is understanding that it is not just a matter of putting people to work, but also giving them an education that allows them to take part in innovation and be a part of developing new ways of operating within their societies. the other part that i find interesting is that the private sectors operating abroad need to do good things. so many of them establish foundations. they work on creating schools and they like to combine with people such as the young people here in terms of getting them involved in it also. so i have learned a lot in terms of how public and private sectors operate together. i think often there's been the thought that they are connected to each other and they are not similar interests. and i think we have learned, fri for instance, that the private
sector can do well by doing good. so make sure that the health care programs are good, that there's education, and they employ women and young people. so i think it's a very important tool that one hadn't thought about before. at least i hadn't. and i think that they want to operate well and i think we need to take advantage of that. >> i agree with that. one of the things we try to do in my foundation is to work with companies and governments and hope that we find a way to do something faster, cheaper, or better in a way that will make a business want to incorporate it into the business model or a government see that it's now affordable to adopt. so i think this is really important. next question is for usher. what do you think about the power of the performing arts as an education tool in developing
countries? can it help? should we think about that as a luxury or should we try to use the culture of performing arts in these countries to promote education? and how can it be done? >> i think that passion lies in something that is identified in talent most certainly. but no different than the four pillars that i have created through the foundation. it obviously starts with education. you have to have an education and identify that talent and allow that talent to offer a career or a sustainable career to at least get you to the point where you're able to make a difference. and obviously, leading to service. i mean it obviously would or at least that's the hope. that if you are blessed and there's an opportunity to make a difference in your community, then you will. >> here's an interesting
question. how can men join the movement to empower women? do you have male supporters in afghanistan? and how important is that? >> i think definitely in a society like afghanistan where men actually make decisions for basically everything, men are the key in supporting women and making their dream come true. and i have seen in my life and witnessed in the lives of so many friends, not only in afghanistan but worldwide, that women do care. not only for themselves, but they care for the world. and they are the ones who are making a difference. so i think if i were not
supported by my father, and if i were not supported by my husband who let me come to college after married only for two months, he stayed in afghanistan. he sent me here to study. and come back and make a change in the lives of women who don't even know what education means and what kind of difference education can make in their lives. so if i have always said to my father, why don't we have many fathers like you. and actually i made an official complaint. i asked my father, why don't you have a coalition of fathers who should be supporting their daughters so that we keep the ball rolling and really have a huge effect?
and i think my father is getting that. i think he will be soon that hero. >> one of the questions i asked before that you didn't have time to answer, maybe you could briefly tell us. how did you go from your first education project to educating so many young girls and then having a community college and your other training programs? how did you grow this thing and how did you get financial help from others? >> definitely. so i knew that the need is great, but i couldn't do it alone. as a teenager i couldn't do anything. but i knew that there must be a way to change this perception. and i believe that the status must be changed. so the initial support that i got it was from my father. i really wanted him to support me in taking me to afghanistan
because i couldn't travel myself alone. and i got a positive note. and then at mount holeo. that helped me develop my leadership skills. i grew in many, many ways, and i was inspire d by the founder of the college that she was able to establish this first women's college. she had no funding. basically she had a small pouch walking into communities collecting coins. and the students in return for their education will bring eggs, butter, and milk. and that's how that college was started. so i compared myself with her. i dared to do that. and i said well now that the world is paying so much
attention to women's rights in afghanistan and a lot of support is coming and a lot of money are coming, yet women are not able to be benefitted to actually see the impact. and i think this is the right time to start. so i learned basically what you said that try not to be intimidated by the threats that you see by the danger or risk associated. approach those opportunities and use them strategically. so that's why. it was a big dream for me. to start a women's college, i shared this idea with my professors. i got support. i got support from a public service award. it was a